Planning your wedding is supposed to be an enjoyable experience, but with all the planning, organising, booking, renting and buying, it can be quite a stressful and confusing experience. But by making plans and doing a bit of research before setting out to look at your venue, you might save yourself a lot of hassle.

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There's probably an infinite number of questions you could ask about your venue, but we've included a short list of the most important ones and the ones you might not think to ask.

Firstly, the availability of the venue, how many people it accommodates, how much it costs and what exactly is included in that price?

Next, the money discussions: is there a discount for off-peak times, how much is the deposit, what's the cancellation policy?

It's also important to check at every juncture where you're asking about extras to ask if there's an additional charge.

If it's a hotel, is the wedding area separate from the main hotel or are they amalgamated? How many rooms can be booked for the wedding party? Is there a discount on these rooms?

How much can you change or bring in for the decor? Can you use your own vendors such as florists? Can you use real candles? If you're permitted to decorate the place yourself it's important to ask how much time you will be allowed for this and when you will be expected to take it all down.

How late will the bar stay open? Can you request a late bar?

What allowances can be made for every guest? Is the venue child friendly, with efforts made to keep the younger guests entertained throughout the evening? Is the room you want easily accessible for elderly or infirm guests?

Ask about facilities: bathrooms, smoking area, parking and electrical outlets (for where your band or DJ might set up).


Most venues have catering included in their wedding packages, but there are questions you need to ask about the food, which you can direct to the venue or a separate caterer if you are using one.

How flexible is the menu? What is the vegetarian option? Can you cater for special dietary requirements? What about children's meals?

Is there a cake cutting/serving fee?

Most importantly, make sure you make a list of everything you want at your reception, even the obvious things. Then make sure they're included in the package or inquire about them. Ask if discounts are possible or if additional charges apply. Finally, read the final contract carefully, with a breakdown of all the charges and make sure everything you want is there, and nothing extra or unnecessary is there before you sign.

- Jenny Darmody

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